“Operation Sovereign Borders” carried out by Australia’s Border Force released a monthly report revealing four boats with a total of 125 people onboard were intercepted in June.
“All 125 passengers and crew were safely returned to Sri Lanka in close cooperation with the Sri Lankan Government,” the report said.
Former home affairs minister Karen Andrews linked the interceptions of the boats to the new government’s immigration policies instead of the growing upheaval and economic crisis in Sri Lanka.
She also claimed it is the largest number of boat intercepts since 2015.
“Today the Australian Border Force released a report showing the largest number of boats interceptions since 2015,” Andrews’ tweet read.
“Labor should not be weakening our borders by abolishing Temporary Protection visas.”
The protests underscored the dramatic fall of the Rajapaksa political clan that has ruled Sri Lanka for most of the past two decades.
At the heart of the protests is Sri Lanka’s economic crisis as the country has run short of money to pay for imports of basic necessities such as food, fertilizer, medicine and fuel for its 22 million people.
The government, led by interim President Ranil Wickremesinghe, is in the process of preparing a debt restructuring plan, a condition for an agreement with the International Monetary Fund for a bailout plan.
Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil traveled to Sri Lanka in June and met with the country’s foreign minister.
Following the meeting the pair said in a statement, “the two Ministers recommitted their resolve to continue working together to thwart people smugglers and to prevent the loss of life and risk to livelihoods of innocent people.”
Protesters swarm presidential home as Sri Lanka enters political vacuum